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by William Lamar Cawthon, Jr.
In 1867 Edward A. Pollard of Virginia became the first Southerner to write a comprehensive history of the Confederacy. Even though the South was materially devastated and its hope of independence crushed, the South, he wrote, insisted upon 'a war of ideas,' a war to preserve State Rights, constitutional liberty, and Southern culture. Pollard noted that 'The Confederates have gone out of this war, with the proud, secret, deathless, dangerous conviction that they are THE BETTER MEN....'
Listen to his words, which are so foreign to our ears today:
'It would be immeasurably the worst consequence of defeat in this war that the South should lose its moral and intellectual distinctiveness as a people, and cease to assert its well-known superiority in civilization, in political scholarship, and in all the standards of individual character over the people of the North. That superiority has been recognized by every foreign observer, and by the intelligent everywhere; for it is the South that in the past produced four-fifths of the political literature of America, and presented in its public men that list of American names best known in the Christian world.'
Pollard urged the South 'to cultivate her superiority as a people; to maintain her old schools of literature and scholarship; to assert, in the forms of her thought, and in the style of her manners, her peculiar civilisation....' Lest you think that this is puffing by a defeated Confederate, a leading historian of the Old South (though from a Leftist perspective), Eugene Genovese, acknowledges that antebellum Southern intellectuals 'matched and sometimes overmatched northerners in one intellectual discipline after another -- in political and constitutional theory, political economy, theology, social and moral philosophy.' (E. D. Genovese, 'The Southern Conservative Tradition,' speech given at the University of South Carolina c. 1992, p. 9.)
Pollard, however, noted the severe danger that the South would be subject to, that, in fact, the South has succumbed to. 'The danger is,' Pollard wrote, 'that Southerners will lose their literature, their former habits of thought, their intellectual self assertion [emphasis supplied], while they are too intent upon recovering the mere material [emphasis in original] prosperity ....
There are certain coarse advisers who tell the Southern people that the great ends of their lives now are to repair their stock of national wealth; to bring in Northern capital and labour; to build mills and factories and hotels and gilded caravansaries; and to make themselves rivals in the clattering and garish enterprise of the North. This advice has its proper place. But there are higher objects than the Yankee magna bona of money and display, and loftier aspirations than the civilization of material things. In the life of nations, as in that of the individual, there is something better than pelf, and the coarse prosperity of dollars and cents..... (E. A. Pollard, The Lost Cause, p. 751.)
What Pollard feared has triumphed. We as a society have regained our material prosperity, to the exclusion of retaining and cultivating our former habits of thought and the culture and way of life of our Southland. Instead of a war of ideas, we have blindly followed the ever more radical and alien ideas emanating from Harvard and Yale and other intellectual centres of authority outside the South. We have allowed all of our institutions to espouse the alien Yankee philosophies. We have no universities of our own, no major media, most of our religious leaders do not understand our traditions, and our business leadership apparently thinks that to maintain prosperity we must abandon the South.
While we bask in our new found prosperity, a war for our extermination as a people is gaining ever greater momentum. I have been associated as a student with the history department at the University of Georgia for quite a number of years, and therefore have obtained an understanding of the thinking of the American regime that has decreed death to a distinctive, historic Southern culture. The history profession has become, for some reason, the most liberal of all the liberal arts professions, and, therefore, serves as a guide to the thought of the very liberal and even Leftist American regime which controls us. What is a regime? It is an ancient concept which Angelo Codevilla, in his recent book, The Character of Nations, uses in an analysis of civilizations throughout history and of countries around the world today. Basically, a regime is composed of the government plus the leading institutions of a society. It is what gives, as our antebellum Southern ancestors would have said, tone and character to a people. As Codevilla notes, the American regime today is anti-traditional, anti-local government, anti-religion, and is striving with all of its vast power to pull the US further to the Left toward an egalitarian superstate of vast centralization of authority, including both business and State. He notes that the leaders of both the Democratic and Republican Parties are part of the regime, as is the American business community. This American regime intends to obliterate our South as thoroughly as the Romans destroyed Carthage. 'Those people,' in the immortal words of General Lee, literally want no person living to admire the traditional South or to live its precepts; they are, in fact, well advanced in their campaign of cultural genocide, daily indoctrinating our youth in the horrors and evil and hopelessly backward ways of our people. They are demonizing us, and they are winning. How many of your friends think you are a bit extreme, and accept the reigning American interpretation of the world? Very many, I am sure.
Whether the regime is most effective in brainwashing the best and brightest of our youth, or in neutralizing the vast majority, is yet to be seen. It has most effectively neutralized our people by a magic word it employs over and over in the forms of 'racist' or 'racism.'
While we fret over the possibility of being 'racist,' or look askance at this or that organisation or effort because it might harbour 'racists,' we delude ourselves, destroy our concepts of fair play and the government's role in society, discriminate in favour of the formally discriminated against, and have helped create a world in which whites of European ancestry are literally decreasing in population. We are not only facing the collapses and extinction of a culture, we are facing a demographic catastrophe.
The US Census Bureau has for some years now been projecting that whites of non-Hispanic origin will become a minority of the population of the US in about the year 2053. However, demographic trends revealed by the last Census would put that major transformation of the US in the late 2020s, within the lifetime of most here today. The proportion of white non-Hispanics in Georgia declined by 7 and a half percentage points over the last decade, bringing their share of Georgia's population down to 62 and a half percent. At this rate, Georgia will become a minority Anglo-Celtic State by the year 2017, just 16 years away!
As Time magazine noted in a 1990 cover story article on the 'Browning of America,' as it called this sea-change in the transformation of this country, everything will change, from values to education to business to culture. We will be a totally different country. The historic South, and historic America, will cease to exist.
To say that our forebears are turning in their graves is an understatement. We are repudiating everything they stood for. Our ancestors did not brave the hardships of an ocean voyage, the perils of cultivating a wilderness, a war of epic proportions, and all the other hardships and trials of life to prepare the way for the extinction of their cultural inheritance, the whittling away of their liberties, and their amalgamation with alien peoples.
Some people are beginning to wonder if we may not have to seek refuge in some foreign land. I have heard talk of moving to Europe, to Australia or New Zealand, to South America. But from what I understand, the South is the last best hope of Western Christendom on the face of the planet. All the other Western countries are more socialistic than is the South, and the overwhelming majority are more secular. Their leadership is even more attuned to the one world secular-egalitarian mentality than is ours. A friend who left the US in 1988 for Europe, thinking even then that the US was too far gone toward materialism and socialism, and who now lives in Switzerland, is seriously thinking of returning to his native Southland, because, as he says, even Switzerland has gone socialistic, and Christianity is 'dead in Europe.'
The South is the one major area of the Western world where the old verities and understandings still have strength among the masses of the people. More and more, I see the South as the hope of the Western world. If we can just regain our belief in ourselves, in the clear superiority of the South, as articulator and defender of the Western tradition, then we Southerners may emerge as the source of the revitalization and the renaissance of the Western spirit.
Yet our people are caught up in the 'garish enterprise of the North,' in the Yankee race to money and power and display. We do not know our history, our strengths, our uniqueness, our talents. Our youth have been brainwashed to believe that we are inferior. Our business, civic, and religious leaders were taught long ago to turn their backs on their heritage and to admire and emulate whatever are the latest trends in thought and action from Northern or European quarters. As William Gilmore Simms, that great Southern litterateur and patriot argued, Southerners have all the elements needed for greatness. We should strive to be, like the ancient Athenians, an inspiration for the world, creative in the best sense of the word. Our tradition gives us the intellectual wisdom, our experience gives us the wisdom gained through many generations living with the everyday realities that most of the world's population has faced, including horrible defeat and poverty.
We are a nation; in fact, one of the foremost nations of the earth. Again, the powers that be have misled us. Political sovereignty is not necessary for the existence of a nation. On the contrary, a nation is most essentially a people, particularly defined by history and memories. The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology's definition of nation shows why this is so. Our word 'nation' traces back to the Latin natio(n-), meaning 'breed, race, stock,' which is formed from the past participle stem of nasci, 'to be born.'
We need to be like the Basques of northern Spain and southwestern France, a tenacious nation of people who have survived through the millennia, defeating every effort to extinguish their culture. The Basques have combined the ability to participate in the wider world, to be successful economically, and yet fiercely maintain their sense of identity and culture. Many a Basque participated in the Spanish conquest of the Americas. Theirs was one of the first regions of Spain to industrialize. Yet the most important word in their native language, is gure. It means "our"- our people, our home, our village. 'A central concept in Basque identity is belonging. . . .' Though they do not have their own politically independent nation, they are among the most nationalistic of all European peoples. They 'are determined to lose nothing that is theirs.' The author of The Basque History of the World believes that long after France and Spain disappear as nations the Basque nation will endure. (Mark Kurlansky, The Basque History of the World (New York: Penguin Books, 1999, pp. 4-6, 326, 35 1).
Richard Weaver, that great Southern conservative intellectual of the twentieth century, saw the South in similar terms. 'Being a Southerner,' he wrote, 'is definitely a spiritual condition, like being a Catholic or a Jew....' He believed that the South's experience during the war for its independence only 'confirmed the feeling that it was in spirit and needs a separate nation.' (George M. Curtis, III and James J. Thompson, Jr., eds., The Southern Essays of Richard M Weaver (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1987, pp. 250-251.)
It is absolutely unthinkable that we Southerners, one of the great peoples of the earth, instrumental in forming the grand United States of America and instrumental in every phase and in most of the elements of US greatness, should disappear as a people.
William Gilmore Simms, whose works we should all know, penned words in an 1844 Fourth of July oration which should goad every Southern man and woman today to action: "No people not utterly shorn of pride, of manhood, of all the most ordinary sensibilities of human nature, but must finally revolt at all hazards, against the constant warfare, the prolonged annoyance, the denunciation and the indignity, and take measures of safety and precaution against the dangers which these necessarily imply." And to this we may add, the present threats of cultural and even eventual physical genocide.
The blood of freedom loving patriots flows in your veins. A war is waging for your survival. You must act.
To illustrate how alien we Southerners are to the beliefs and values of our forebears, let me quote from a President-General of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Eugenia Dorothy Blount Lamar, who endowed the Lamar Memorial Lectures to perpetuate the best type of Southern scholarship, gave the 1939 Confederate Memorial Day address in Athens, Georgia. She spoke for 'a more Southern South,' 'as old-fashioned as you please.' She summarized her talk:
I have long felt that the strength and charm of the South and its hope for the future lie in its conservation, its cherished attachment to traditions of our forebears, and its predominant Anglo-Saxon racial integrity. I have applauded industrial progress and business growth to a large extent, but I have also deplored alien innovations which our more radical and prosperity-bent Progressives would inflict on us in the name of plenty and industrial development. Our forefathers achieved the finest flower of civilization, grace, morality, and integrity under an agrarian system, and I have always felt that this traditional Southern way of life is the soundest, most certain way to our well-being. (Dolly Blount Lamar, When All Is Said And Done, (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1952, p. 134.)
Of course, change is a part of human civilisation. The South had to change certain aspects of her race relations, and industrialize far more than many of us desired. But the changes sweeping over the South threaten our very existence as a people.
That the South will survive somewhere and in some fashion, I am sure. But whether we are able to survive in the core of our historic homeland is the question.
We must build our own institutions from the ground up. We must never surrender our land to the alien peoples and forces which threaten our very existence. The Mississippi flag vote and the reaction to the Barnes' blitzkrieg on the Georgia flag are hopeful signs that we Southerners are at last waking up and reclaiming our inheritance and our culture. But it will not be easy. We are in a fearful war for our very survival, and we must think and act as if we are on a war footing, for we truly are. A war of ideas a culture war is what we are fighting today, and we must an-n ourselves for the task. We are stronger than we think. Let us be determined to take Georgia and the South back. Let the South be Southern again, as Southern as you please.
Mr William Lamar Cawthon, Jr. is one of the founding members of the League of the South, and resides in Athens, Georgia.